Scott Marks noon, Jan. 11
After what appears to have been two decades spent sleeping face down on a power sander, martyred Detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) awakens to the harsh light of day and decides to take control of her rebellious daughter while also making amends for an undercover job gone bad. In The Invitation, Karyn Kusama’s thinking-person’s variation on The Purge, the director tightened the screws by bringing a clinical, seat-squirming edge to her examination of the inner-workings of a suicidal cult. This time, instead of a slow burning, hyper-neurotic variation on any number of cop dramas, Kusama would have benefitted from a pre-production viewing of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant. If nothing else it might have helped to lighten the otherwise oppressive tone of Bell’s sanctimonious odyssey. And if the film is about a haggard cop on a mission to do right, why is the parting shot that of an anonymous skater dude executing a slo-mo kickfilp? 2018.